Tuesday, March 23, 2004

My new website on geocities

Dear All, I have just created a new website on the geocities server and would like you to provide me feedback on the same. the address is www.geocities.com/pauravshukla it is still not complete but would like to know about the look and feel.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Unilever v/s Procter & Gamble

These are some very interesting links related to a recent Price war between Unilever's Indian subsidiary(HLL) and Procter & Gamble for market share in the Indian subcontinent. Think it might be of some interest from a Business strategy and Marketing perspective as the Indian market is just emerging.



Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Saturday, March 13, 2004

To Paul: Hedging Against Currency Problems

Dear Paul,

I am not good at finance so asked your question to another group on yahoo called FINANCE FANS, run by one of my friends and of which I am a member of. And here I got this answer.

Hope it will help.

Internal Hedging Strategies

§ Invoicing

A firm may be able to shift the entire risk to another party by invoicing its exports in its home currency and insisting that its imports too be invoiced in its home currency, but in the presence of well functioning forwards markets this will not yield any added benefit compared to a forward hedge. At times, it may diminish the firm’s competitive advantage if it refuses to invoice its cross-border sales in the buyer’s currency.

In the following cases invoicing is used as a means of hedging:

1. Trade between developed countries in manufactured products is generally invoiced in the exporter’s currency.

2. Trade in primary products and capital assets are generally invoiced in a major vehicle currency such as the US dollar.

3. Trade between a developed and a less developed country tends to be invoiced in the developed country’s currency.

4. If a country has a higher and more volatile inflation rate than its trading partners, there is a tendency not to use that country’s currency in trade invoicing.

Another hedging tool in this context is the use of “currency cocktails” for invoicing. Thus for instance, British importer of fertilizer from Germany can negotiate with the supplier that the invoice is partly in DEM & partly in Sterling. This way both the parties share exposure. Another possibility is to use one of the “standard currency baskets” such as the SDR or the ECU for invoicing trade transactions.

Basket invoicing offers the advantage of diversification and can reduce the variance of home currency value of the payable or receivable as long as there is no perfect correlation between the constituent currencies. The risk is reduced but not eliminated. Also, there is no way by which the exposure can be hedged since there is no forward markets I these composite currencies. As a result, this technique has not become very popular.

§ Netting and Offsetting:

A firm with receivables and payables in diverse currencies can net out its exposure in each currency by matching receivables with payables. Thus a firm with exports to and imports from say Germany need not cover each transaction separately; it can use a receivable to settle all or part of a payable and take a hedge only for the net DEM payable or receivable. Even if the timings of the two flows do not match, it might be possible to lead or lag one of them to achieve a match.

To be able to use netting effectively, the company must have continuously updated information on inter-subsidiary payments position as well as payables and receivables to outsiders. One way of ensuring efficient information gathering is to centralise cash management.

§ Leading and Lagging:

Another internal way of managing transactions exposure is to shift the timing of exposures by leading or lagging payables and receivables. The general rule is lead, i.e. advance payables and lag, i.e. postpone receivables in “strong” currencies and, conversely, lead receivables and lag payables in weak currencies. Simply shifting the exposure in time is not enough; it has to be combined with a borrowing/lending transaction or a forward transaction to complete the hedge.

Both these tools exist as a response to the existence of market imperfections.

· External Hedging Strategies

§ Using Hedging for Forwards Market:

In the normal course of business, a firm will have several contractual exposures in various currencies maturing at various dates. The net exposure in a given currency at a given date is simply the difference between the total inflows and the total outflows to be settled on that date. Thus suppose ABC Co. has the following items outstanding:

Item Value Dates to maturity

1.USD receivable 800,000 60

2.NLG payable 2,000,000 90

3.USD interest payable 100,000 180

4.USD payable 200,000 60

5.USD purchased forward 300,000 60

6.USD loan installment due 250,000 60

7.NLG purchased forward 1,000,000 90

Its net exposure in USD at 60 days is:

(800,000+300,000)-(200,000+250,000)=+USD 650,000

Whereas it has a net exposure in NLG of –1,000,000 at 90 days.

The use of forward contracts to hedge transactions exposure at a single date is quite straightforward. A contractual net inflow of foreign currency is sold forward and a contractual net outflow is bought forward. This removes all uncertainty regarding the domestic currency value of the receivable or payable. Thus in the above example, to hedge the 60 day USD exposure, ABC Co. can sell forward USD 650,000 while for the NLG exposure it can buy NLG 1,000,000 90 day forward.

What about exposures at different date? One obvious solution is to hedge each exposure separately with a forward sale or purchase contract as the case may be. Thus in the example, the firm can hedge the 60 day USD exposure with a forward sale and the 180 day USD exposure with a forward purchase.

§ Hedging with the money market:

Firms, which have access to international money markets for short-term borrowing as well as investment, can use the money market for hedging transactions exposure.

E.g.: Suppose a German firm ABC has a 90 day Dutch Guilder receivable of NLG 10,000,000. It has access to Euro deposit markets in DEM as well as NLG. To cover this exposure it can execute the following sequence of transactions:

1. Borrow NLG in the euroNLG market for 90 days.

2. Convert spot to DEM.

3. Use DEM in its operations, e.g. to pay off a short-term bank loan or finance inventory.

4. When the receivable is settled, use it to pay off the NLG loan.

Suppose the rates are as follows:

NLG/DEM Spot: 101025/35 90day forward: 1.1045/65

EuroNLG interest rates: 5 1/4/5 ½

EuroDEM interest rates: 4 3/4/5.00

Comparing the forward cover against the money market cover. With forward cover, each NLG sold will give an inflow of DEM (1/1.064)= DEM 0.9038, 90 days later. The present value of this (at 4.74%) is

0.9038/[1+ (0.0475/4)]= DEM 0.8931

To cover using the money market, for each NLG of receivable, borrow NLG 1/[1+ (0.055/4)]

= NLG 0.9864, sell this spot to get DEM (0.9864/1.1035)

=DEM 0.8939

Pay off the NLG loan when the receivables mature. Thus the money markets cover; there is a net gain of DEM 0.0008 per NLG of receivable or DEM 8000 for the 10 million-guilder receivable.

Sometimes the money market hedge may turn out to be the more economical alternative because of some constraints imposed by governments. For instance, domestic firms may not be allowed access to the Euromarket in their home currency or non-residents may not be permitted access to domestic money markets. This will lead to significant differentials between the Euromarket and domestic money market interest rates for the same currency. Since forward premia/ discounts are related to Euromarket interest differentials between two currencies, such an imperfection will present opportunities for cost saving.

E.g. A Danish firm has imported computers worth $ 5 million from a US supplier. The payment is due in 180 days. The market rates are as follows:

DKK/USD Spot: 5.5010/20

180 days forward: 5.4095/ 5.4110

Euro $: 9 1/2/ 9 ¾

Euro DKK: 6 1/4/ 6 ½

Domestic DKK: 5 1/4/ 5 ½

The Danish government has imposed a temporary ban on non-residents borrowing in the domestic money market. For each dollar of payable, forward cover involves an outflow of DKK 5.4110, 180 days from now. Instead for each dollar of payable, the firm can borrow DKK 502525 at 5.5%, acquit $ 0.9547 in the spot market and invest this at 9.50% in a Euro $ deposit to accumulate to one dollar to settle the payable. It will have to repay DKK 5.3969 [=5.2525* 1.0275], 180 days later. This represents a saving of DKK 0.0141 per dollar of payable or DKK 70,500 on the $5 million payable.

From the above example it is clear that from time to time cost saving opportunities may arise either due to some market imperfection or natural market conditions, which an alert treasurer can exploit to make sizeable gains. Having decided to hedge an exposure, all available alternatives foe executing the hedge should be examined.

§ Hedging with Currency Futures:

Hedging contractual foreign currency flows with currency futures is in many respects similar to hedging with forward contracts. A receivable is hedged by selling futures while a payable is hedged by buying futures.

A futures hedge differs from a forward hedge because of the intrinsic features of future contracts. The advantages of futures are, it easier and has greater liquidity. Banks will enter into forward contracts only with corporations (and in rare cases individuals) with the highest credit rating. Second, a futures hedge is much easier to unwind since there is an organized exchange with a large turnover.

§ Hedging with Currency Options:

Currency options provide a more flexible means to cover transactions exposure. A contracted foreign currency outflow can be hedged by purchasing a call option (or selling a put option) on the currency while an inflow can be hedged by buying a put option. (Or writing a call option. This is a “covered call” strategy).

Options are particularly useful for hedging uncertain cash flows, i.e. Cash flows those are contingent on other events. Typical situations are:

a. International tenders: Foreign exchange inflows will materialise only if the bid is successful. If execution of the contract also involves purchase of materials, equipments, etc. from third countries, there are contingent foreign currency outflows too.

b. Foreign currency receivables with substantial default risk or political risk, e.g. the host government of a foreign subsidiary might suddenly impose restrictions on dividend repatriation.

c. Risky portfolio investment: A funds manager say in UK might hold a portfolio of foreign stocks/bonds currently worth say DEM 50 million, which he is planning to liquidate in 6 months time. If he sells Dem 50 million forward and the portfolio declines in value because of a falling German stock market and rising interest rates, he will find himself to be over insured and short in DEM.

E.g. On June 1, a UK firm has a DEM 5,00,000 payable due on September 1. The market rates are as follows:

DEM/GBP Spot: 2.8175/85

90-day Swap points: 60/55

September calls with a strike of 2.82 (DEM/GBP) are available for a premium of 0.20p per DEM. Evaluating the forward hedge versus purchase of call options both with reference to an open position.

i. Open position: Suppose the firm decides to leave the payable unhedged. If at maturity the pound sterling/ DEM spot rate is St., the sterling value of the payable is (5,00,000) St.

ii. Forward hedge: If the firm buys DEM 5,00,000 forward at the offer rate of DEM 2.8130/PS or PS0.3557/ DEM, the value of the payable is PS (5,00,000 * 0.3557)=PS 1,77,850.

iii. A Call option: Instead the firm buys call options on DEM 5,00,000 for a total premium expense of PS 1000.

At maturity, its cash outflow will be

PS [(5,00,000)St +1025] for St<= 0.3546

and PS [5,00,000)(0.3546)+1025]

= PS 178325 for St>=0.3546.

Here it is assumed here that the premium expense is financed by a 90 day borrowing at 10%.

a) Hedging a Foreign Currency with calls.

In late February an American importer anticipates a yen payment of JYP 100 million to a Japanese supplier sometime late in May. The current USD/JYP spot is 0.007739 (which implies a JYP/USD rate of 129.22.). A June yen call option on the PHLX, with strike price of $0.0078 per yen is available for a premium of 0.0108 cents per yen or $0.000108 per yen. Each yen contract is for JPY 6.25 million. Premium per contract is therefore: $(0.000108 * 6250000) = $675.

The firm decides to purchase 16 calls for a premium of $10800 .In addition there is a brokerage fee of $20 per contract. Thus the total expense in buying the option is $11,120.The firm has in effect ensured that its buying rate for yen will not exceed $0.0078+ $(11120/100,000,000)= $0.0078112 per yen.

The price the firm will actually end up paying for yen depends on the spot rate at the time of payment .For further clarification the following 2 e.g. are considered:

1. Yen depreciates to $0.0075 per yen (Yen / $ 133.33) in late May when the payment becomes due .The firm will not exercise its options. It can sell 16 calls in the market provided the resale value exceeds the brokerage commission it will have to pay. (The June calls will still have some positive premium) .It buys yen in the spot market .In this case the price per yen it will have paid is $0.0075 + $0.0000112 - ${(Sale of value options – 320) /100000000}

If the resale value of the options is less than $320, it will simply let the options lapse .In this case the effective rate will be $0.0075112 per yen or yen 133.13 per $. It would have been better to leave the payable uncovered. The forward purchase at $0.0078 would have fixed the rate at that value and would be worse than the option.

2. Yen appreciates to $ 0.08

Now the firm can exercise the options and procure the yen at the strike price of $0.0078.In addition, there will be transaction cost associated with the exercise. Alternatively, it can sell the option and buy the yen in the spot market. Assume that June yen calls are trading at $0.00023per yen in late May. With the latter alternative, the dollar will be $800000- $(0.00023 * 16* 6250000)+ $320= $777320. Including the premium, the effective rate the firm has paid is $(0.0077732+0.0000112) = $0.0077844.

b) Hedging a receivable with a put option

A German chemical firm has supplied goods worth Pound 26 million to a British customer. The payment is due in two months. The current DEM/GBP spot rate is 2.8356 and two month forward rate is 2.8050. An American put option on sterling with 3 month maturity and strike price of DEM 2.8050 is available in the inter bank market with a premium of DEM 0.03 per sterling. The firm purchases a put option on pound 26 million .The premium paid is DEM (0.03 * 26000000) = DEM 780000. There are no other costs.

Effectively the firm has put a floor on the value of its receivable at approximately DEM 2.7750 per sterling (= 2.8050-0.03). Again two e.g. are considered:

1. The pound sterling depreciates to DEM 2.7550 .The firm exercises its put option and delivers pound 26 million to the bank at the price of 2.8050. The effective rate is 2.7750. It would have been better off with a forward contract.

2. Sterling appreciates to DEM 2.8575. The option has no secondary market and the firm allows it to lapse. It sells the receivable in the spot market. Net of the premium paid, it obtains an effective rate of 2.8275, which is better than forward rate. If the interest forgone on premium payment is accounted for, the superiority of the option over the forward contract will be slightly reduced.

Friday, March 12, 2004

hedging against currency fluctuations

Does anyone have information about the way that companies hedge against currency problems, as for example caused by recent falls in the price of the dollar. From the marketing perspective does this mean that companies may set up in different countries in order to hedge against currency fluctuations or is it a more financial instrument?

interesting article

there's a reasonably interesting article about UK supermarkets and customer preference in today's Guardian. Seems to be discussing some of the ideas around market segmentation. it's at http://www.guardian.co.uk/supermarkets/story/0,12784,1167689,00.html

Thursday, March 11, 2004

2 new links added

Suggest you to go through the 2 new links I have added in the links section.
1. Marketing teacher (www.marketingteacher.com) has got all those strategy and marketing related models. So you need not to draw or scan them also. They also have good summary on certain topics.
2. MBA Depot (www.mbadepot.com), a free web based resources. Does have a good database.

Wharton on Strategy

The latest wharton newsletter on strategy and marketing is out and is FREE. I have already created a link on our blog page (3rd from the top). There are some real good articles there.

just for fun

Not really related to marketing - but good to know that Google has a sense of humour.
Type 'weapons of mass destruction' into a google search and click on 'feeling lucky'

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Rational Decisions


rational (adj)
showing clear thought or reason
decision (noun)
a choice that you make about something after thinking about several possibilities
tautology (noun)
the unnecessary and usually unintentional use of two words to express one meaning.

Comedian (noun) (FEMALE ALSO comedienne)
a person whose job is to make people laugh by telling jokes and amusing stories or by copying the behaviour or speech of famous people:
beer (noun)
an alcoholic drink made from grain
fun (PLEASURE) (noun)
pleasure, enjoyment, amusement.

Hanover Pub, Queens Park Rd, Brighton. Arrive between 8 and 9pm Tuesday 9 March. See ya there!

Dear friends,

Welcome to the new world of blogging as it is popularly called. The idea of creating this is blog is to make the course more interactive than just the classroom interaction. You can post your own questions and create your own discussions on this blogplace. I have already told you about my experience with this interactive version of learning and I feel we can enhance our classroom experience to a new high if we use this facility sincerely, continuously and rationally. lol.

In the last session, there were many viewpoints for the discussion on 'rational decisions'. Let us start building from their only.

Happy blogging,